August 1, 2011

Arctic sea ice melting could accelerate even more than predicted

A recent study by Canadian scientists from Queens University showed that Arctic storm surges have increased due to the dramatic loss of sea ice, with salty water eroding coastlines and devastating inland ecosystems.

According to Professor Peter Wadhams (PhD) (WAHD-hams) of Cambridge University, United Kingdom, this is one of the factors that in turn are accelerating the loss of sea ice in a feedback cycle.

He, like other researchers, warns of a tipping point quickly coming in which the summer ice melt will exceed the previous winter’s formation of new ice.

Peter Wadhams - Professor of Ocean Physics, Cambridge University (M): The Arctic Ocean will still be ice covered in winter, but it’ll be covered with first-year ice, that’s thin ice, and it will all go in the summer.

And this will happen in perhaps 20 to 30 years, but I suspect it’ll happen quicker. You’ve got now big ocean areas which used to be ice covered, so you can be getting big waves and storms, and the waves come in and break the ice up some more.

And because the ice is unconstrained by land masses, it can expand out and break up. So I think what’ll happen is that the rate of decay or the rate of retreat will increase as the actual area gets much smaller, until, well, it’s like falling off a cliff, it will just all go.

VOICE: Our appreciation, Professor Wadhams and Queens University researchers for alerting us to the worsening disappearance of the Arctic sea ice. May we all work to halt the climate change through our concerted planet-cooling actions.


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